On January 1st of this year, I began a project marking the 400th year since the first people were brought against their will to the North American mainland from Africa. I urge you to join this project by subscribing to my blog. You will receive weekly blogs that use lessons from 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy to encourage and guide anti-racism work, particularly by those who acknowledge that they benefit from such systemic racism.
I seek 400 people to take the following pledge: “To mark 400 years of racial oppression in colonial America and the United States, I pledge to confront systemic racism more directly and take concrete steps to repair the harm done.” I will then collect examples of such direct and concrete steps, share them on a website I am building, along with an annotated list of 400 books, articles, or videos that I recommend you explore to support your commitment to anti-racism work.This project will be guided most by the writings of people of color, particularly authors who were enslaved and their descendants. I will focus mainly on how racism in the United States has hurt Africans brought to this land and their descendants, but acknowledge that non-whites from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are often brutal victims of racism. I hope my particular focus will help deconstruct systemic racism that affects many people, as well as open up more space to deal with other forms of oppression based on gender, identity, orientation, country of origin, economic privilege, religion, and more.
I am focusing on history in part because many people of color tell me that they are tired of both being the victims of racism and asked to solve racism. Many people of color have already shared their wisdom in countless writings from slave narratives to peer reviewed articles to award winning historical works. I want to tap that deep resource through this project.
If you want to share questions or comments immediately, you can email me at HughTM@gmail.com. If you subscribe to my blog through this link, http://eepurl.com/gdeHJb, you will be updated as to construction of a website along with forums for broader conversation. Join me in trying to become more aware, intentional, and committed to the work of anti-racism.
Hugh Taft-Morales is the Ethical Culture Leader of the Baltimore and Philadelphia Ethical Societies. Hugh graduated from Yale University in 1979 and earned a Masters in Philosophy from University of Kent at Canterbury. He taught philosophy and history for twenty-five years in Washington, DC, after which he transitioned into Ethical Culture Leadership. This is his independent project—as much a learning experience as a modest effort to help others become more committed to, and effective in, anti-racism work.